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Southwest Dutchess Daily Voice serves Beacon, East Fishkill, Fishkill, LaGrange, Poughkeepsie, Wappinger & Wappingers Falls

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Wappingers Students' Project Benefits Food Bowl Of The Hudson Valley

Student Ronan Moran, left, explains Food Bowl to a group of younger students. Photo Credit: Contributed
Randolph School students work on a practice build of their structure. Photo Credit: Contributed

WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. -- A persuasive letter writing campaign by fourth and fifth-graders at Randolph School in Wappingers Falls, which began in early December, has brought in more than 1,500 boxes and cans to date, in the form of food donations.

The students reached out to area community grocers, supermarkets and hardware stores seeking donations to help them build their structure as part of their participation in this year’s Food Bowl of the Hudson Valley presented by Poughkeepsie Day School.

This is the third time Randolph School has been involved with this annual event, according to a release from the school.

The task set to area schools is to create a structure made entirely of donated canned or boxed food. After collectively agreeing upon a structure, Mike Ferrara’s fourth/fifth-grade group at Randolph School went to work writing letters for donations, the release said.

Using their math, literacy, architectural and team-working skills, students then designed a sculpture that will fill their designated 10-foot by 10-foot by 8-foot-high space when it comes time for the big build at the Poughkeepsie Galleria.

One thousand three-hundred and forty of the 1,500 cans and food boxes donated to the Randolph School will used to build their structure, according to the release. Ultimately, all of the non-perishables donated to the Food Bowl participants will be sent to the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley or a partnering facility such as the Lunch Box of Poughkeepsie, which was chosen by the Randolph School kids.

Structures, which are set to be built Friday, March 3, will remain up for public viewing, and voting with food donations, until Saturday, March 11.

“Every year that we participate in this event, the group is different, and it's a completely unique experience for them, and for me,” said  Ferrara. “This year, we had some amazing experiences to help us get ready for the build. These interactions created long-lasting, real world connections for our students."

Ferrara also invited a representative from Grace Smith House in Poughkeepsie to come and talk to his group about what it’s like for families who spend time at Grace Smith House and the direct benefit they will derive from the Food Bowl.

"I always liked helping people, but this is even better than I thought it would be," says Ronan Moran, age 8.

“Engaging students in this type of study or long-term project fits right in line with how we teach at Randolph School," said Karen Teich, admissions coordinator. “We call it project-based learning. Along with skills based instruction, there are academic, social, emotional and community components that are interwoven into a study.

The Randolph School’s curriculum is built on long-standing traditions as well as student interests and explores subject matter in a multi-disciplinary manner.

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